He had nothing to say throughout the two days of Operation Black Belt, the IDF action surrounding the elimination of Islamic Jihad military commander Abu al-Ata, but on Thursday, Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid spoke out – against the ceasefire deal that ended the Islamic Jihad rocket fire against Israel.
“The compromise with Islamic Jihad is not a good one,” Lapid told Army Radio. “It is not good because it will lead to another round of violence. It is not good because it gave Islamic Jihad the achievement of having fired 400 rockets at us. Next time Hamas will be able to sit on the sidelines” and allow Islamic Jihad to do all the work.
The deal was also bad “because it hasn’t changed anything. There is still no deterrence. Residents of the south do not feel safe. The intelligence achievement of the justified targeting and eliminating Abu al-Ata remains a great achievement, but a singular one. That alone will not change the overall situation” in which Gaza terror groups can attack Israel at will.
Lapid did not speak out as hundreds of Islamic Jihad rockets were fired at Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday – unlike his co-leader in Blue and White, Benny Gantz, who expressed full support and solidarity with the government and the IDF. “The war on terror is an ongoing one and the IDF made a correct decision for the benefit and security of Israelis and residents of the south,” Gantz said. “Blue and White will back and support all correct actions for the security of Israelis. We will always place security ahead of politics.”
Also criticizing the deal was Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman, who claimed earlier this week that he had wanted to go ahead with the elimination of Abu al-Ata a year ago, when he was defense minister – but was stopped from doing so by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The problem with the ceasefire, Liberman said, was that it contradicted the government’s supposed stance.
“Until two days ago the claim was that Hamas was responsible for everything that happens in Gaza. But from two days ago Netanyahu has given a pass to Hamas,” Liberman said. “Now it is no longer responsible for all rocket fire from Gaza, regardless of which group fired them. This ceasefire only strengthens Hamas,” but that should come as no surprise “since we see Netanyahu allowing tens of millions of dollars in payoffs to Hamas every month,” referring to the cash transferred by Qatar to Gaza.